Deja Vu: Final Two
Published: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 2:27 a.m.
ATLANTA — Florida fans continue to enjoy a deja view of the postseason.
The Gators reached the NCAA Championship Game with a 76-66 win over UCLA, the team it beat in last year's final, Saturday night and will now face Ohio State for the second time in three months with a national title on the line.
The football Gators took care of the Buckeyes in Glendale, Ariz., and Florida already beat Ohio State in basketball in December 86-60. “They're a different team,” said Florida coach Billy Donovan. “They're no longer a young basketball team. They're a veteran team right now.”
With Urban Meyer in the stands and Donovan on the sideline, Florida struggled to score points against the stingy UCLA defense in the first 10 minutes of the game before coming alive with a pair of impressive runs, one in the first half and one early in the second.
Florida dominated the boards, outrebounding UCLA 43-26 with Al Horford grabbing 17 of those rebounds.
“They were doing a good job of containing us in the post,” said Chris Richard, who had 16 points off the bench. “We just hit the boards hard.”
Corey Brewer led Florida with 19 points.
The win was Florida's 17th straight in the postseason and its 11th straight in the NCAA Tournament. It also keeps alive the Gators' dream to become the second team since UCLA's unprecedented run from 1967-73 to win back-to-back national titles.
“Our guys know that if the result is a win for us, they know what that means,” Donovan said.
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